Showing posts with label Money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Money. Show all posts

Monday, June 30, 2014

New and Noteworthy---Illegal Arms Trade With The Confederacy, Illegal Cotton Trade With the United States

Trading With The Enemy: The Covert Economy During The Civil War, Philip Leigh, Westhome Publications, 183 pp., illustrations, tables, bibliographic notes, bibliography, $26.00.

Using clear and concise language, Philip Leigh cogently explains how the world's cotton market on the eve of the Civil War provoked Northern fears of its own economic collapse.  In 1860, cotton textile manufacturing was the planet's largest industry and it was dependent on the South. Northern manufacturing and the U.S. export trade was dominated by the annual cotton crop.  If the South when it became the Confederacy did not trade with the North then textile mills would become idle and the balance of payments abroad would become unfavorable for North.

Yet, the South would also be diminished by a trade embargo with the North. Wheat, corn, pork and a wide variety of manufactured items would be denied the Confederacy. With gold flowing out of the U.S. treasury, cotton became essential because one in Northern hands it could be exported in exchange for credits in Europe. Both Lincoln and Davis realized that inter-sectional trade would exist and very little could be done to prevent it.  Davis turned a blind eye to it; Lincoln sought to develop a policy that would cultivate it.

The 1862 Port Royal South Carolina effort encouraged African-Americans raised cotton on deserted plantations. The Red River and Olustee military campaigns were conducted to seize cotton. When New Orleans and Memphis fell to the Union both cities became gateway cities for cotton coming out of Louisiana and Mississippi. Also, with the fall of New Orleans the cotton trade migrated to Galveston, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico. Then the French involvement in Mexican politics was moved to the front burner in Seward's State Department. When Norfolk, Virginia and Vicksburg, Mississippi fell into Federal hands, other routes of cotton coming out of  the South opened up. Licenses to trade for cotton were granted to Northern merchants who dealt with the commanders of captured cities.  It was not a coincidence that Benjamin Butler commanded both New Orleans and Norfolk while serving in the army.

The U.S. treasury granted the buyer permits and demanded that those shopping for cotton pay with newly printed greenbacks and not gold. Hopefully, greenbacks would be currency in the Confederacy and undermine Southern home front loyalty. Yet in practice, whichever buyer had gold was the first one in line to buy the cotton made available by military expeditions and planters bring their cotton to market in a Federally captured city.

The passage of cotton via blockade runner to the Bermuda and Bahama Islands, as well as Havana, Cuba is thoroughly presented by Leigh.  He notes that much of this cotton was taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, repackaged/rebranded and sold to Boston and New York textile merchants.  Did the New England and Mid-Atlantic textile merchants pay in weapons and medicine or know that their payments would be used to buy military arms and medicines?  Leigh finds that, in fact, merchants did.  

Leigh well documents his findings and supports in conclusions. With a writing style that is marked by clarity and precision, he presents information that is unfamiliar to most general readers of Civil War literature.  Yet, without a doubt, what the author offers is an articulate and thoughtful re-examination of Northern merchants complicity in a necessary evil, that of trading with the enemy during a civil war.

Philip Leigh is a regular contributor to the New York Times Disunion Civil War series and the Civil War Monitor. A professional writer, he holds an engineering degree from the Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He most recently edited a new edition of Co. Aytch, or a Side Show of the Big Show by Sam Watkins, also available from Westholme Publishing. Additionally, Leigh edited and added illustrations to Three Months in the Southern States, by Arthur J. L. Fremantle.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News---Gettysburg Is On the Money! For the Second Time!

Gettysburg The Face of New Quarter, Erin James, The Evening Sun, Seeptember 14, 2009.

So popular was the 50-state quarter series of 1999-2008 that Hanover coin dealer George Little said he could barely keep collection books on the shelves.
"We were selling state quarter books so fast we couldn't keep them in stock," said Little, who owns Little's Coins and Jewelry on Broadway. "They were very, very popular." That's hardly the reaction Little said he expects will be generated by the U.S. Mint's new America the Beautiful Quarters program - a 12-year initiative that will feature a national park or historic site in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

This time around, the Hanover coin collector said he expects dust is all that will be collecting on the books. "My opinion is that they've just overdone it," he said. "It's definitely a repeat of the state (series)." Locally, however, Little said there's a little more hope for the series. That's because Gettysburg National Military Park - the 6,000-acre site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle - will be featured on Pennsylvania's coin. The coin featuring Gettysburg will be released in 2011. Specific release dates have yet to be announced, and designs have not been unveiled. As it turns out, this won't be the first time the Gettysburg battlefield has been the subject of a United States coin - a fact that even park officials were surprised to learn this week.

News that Gettysburg made the cut as Pennsylvania's representative national park in the America the Beautiful series was announced Wednesday and made headlines Thursday.

That same day, park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said she was approached by a visitor to the new museum. The man said he'd heard the news and asked Lawhon if she knew about the 1938 half dollar that was minted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Their conversation was cut short, but Lawhon said she was intrigued and returned to her office to do some research of her own. What she found is that Gettysburg was in fact the subject of a commemorative coin more than 70 years ago.

According to - and various other coin-related Web sites - the 1938 half dollar was authorized in 1936 by the Pennsylvania State Commission, which sought to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle and the reunion of a few dozen living veterans from both sides of the war. The gathering was known as the Blue and Gray Reunion, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Peace Light Memorial at the same event.

About 50,000 coins were originally minted, but fewer than 30,000 survived the decision of the Philadelphia Mint to melt those that proved difficult to sell. Lawhon said park officials were pleased to learn that Gettysburg would be the subject of the new coin. The park will also have an opportunity to provide input on the design, though "we don't have anything in mind at this point," Lawhon said. For Gov. Ed Rendell, the decision to recommend that Gettysburg represent Pennsylvania on the United States Mint's latest quarter series was hardly a difficult one, said Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma.

Gettysburg is both the most visited Civil War site in the country and one of the state's most popular tourist attractions, Tuma said. Lower on the governor's list of Pennsylvania parks to be considered were Valley Forge, Independence Mall and the Delaware Water Gap, Tuma said. But Gettysburg was the governor's preferred choice, he said. "It's as historically significant as any location in the United States," Tuma said.

Text Source: Evening Sun
Image Sources: Top and Middle Images and Bottom Image